Friday, February 22, 2013

Dr. Oz Slips with Olive Oil WivesTale

Olive Oil...
Picture from the Olive Oil Times

Dr. Oz is adored by millions, and I want to commend him for speaking out about food fraud. This is a subject that is not spoken about often enough.  On a recent segment of his successful daytime television program, Dr. Oz warned his viewers they are being duped into buying fake extra virgin olive oil (EVOO). He said some experts claim that nearly 70 percent of EVOO sold is counterfeit. This is the time Dr. Oz should have turned to the olive oil experts that he had on his show that day.  Instead, he urged everyone to check their olive oil with a test that he and his family use. In the test, Dr. Oz puts a bottle of EVOO in the refrigerator. If it freezes at a normal refrigerator temperature, “then you’re pretty sure it’s pure,” said Oz

I can only imagine what the experts on his show were thinking, but they were polite enough not to call him out and put him in the fridge, in front of millions of viewers. Olive Oil experts everywhere will tell you that what Dr. Oz shared was nothing more than a wives tale.

We as the American public are just scratching the surface when it comes to understanding olive oil. Extra vvirgin olive oil is not just any old cooking oil.  Just as wine has many varieties which differ from grape to grape, and harvest to harvest, olive oil too shares the many variations.  Extra virgin olive oil is   literally the juice of the olive fruit, and when cultivated, harvested, and processed with expertise olive oil becomes a delicious eatable life giving serum. Although many extra virgin olive oil varieties will coagulate when put in the fridge, some will remain fluid even under cold temperatures.

The best way for a consumer to know if the olive oil they are purchasing is authentic is to look for:

A dark colored glass bottle.
A harvest date stamped on the bottle.

It is even better if the harvest location is stamped on there as well, but that is a rare find in an American grocery store today.

I am a staunch advocate of knowing where your food comes from, and olive oil is no different. The further we are removed from knowing where it comes from, the closer we are to being duped.

If you are one of the lucky people who happen to live in a city where there are one or more olive oil specialty stores, I encourage you to pay them a visit. The owners are often well educated when it comes to olive oil. Once there you will have the opportunity to taste the difference between blends and varieties. After tasting the many types of olive oil, you will gain a quick understanding of the differences in intensity and flavor. Many of these stores will often post nutritional evidence of the quality of their oils with each variety and blend they sell.

Although the fridge tip may be left out in the cold, I am glad to see Dr. Oz speaking out against food fraud. Hopefully people will be asking more questions and even prompted to contact their local grocery store  manager, to request more quality food products. We have the power to stop the fraud in our food industry when we purchase real food, rather than the many chemical processed non-foods they are currently selling us. And when we are purchasing real unadulterated food products, what we are really doing is casting a vote with our American dollars. The question is, now that we know about food fraud, what are we really willing to do about it? Bon Appetite